EAST LANSING - Tuesday's pivotal scrimmage settled the battle along Michigan State's front offensive line. Senior Kyle Cook has emerged as the team's starting center, beating out John Masters. Peter Clifford has been installed as the team's starting left guard replacing Cook.
Michigan State head coach John L. Smith said the decision was made in part due to an injury to Masters.
"John Masters is not playing at full speed right now because of a sore knee," said Smith. "Kyle Cook provides all the intangibles at the center position. Kyle is the veteran, senior leader up front, so the other linemen have a great comfort level with him at that spot."
The move means that Masters will be a backup and provide depth at the center position. Cook said that he felt comfortable at either guard or center, but that he had great confidence in Clifford playing the guard position.
"He did very well in the spring at guard," said Cook of Clifford. "He's also improved leaps and bounds at right tackle. Last year, he had to play left tackle against Ohio State; so basically, he's got four spots covered."
When asked which position he felt the most confortable playing, Clifford responded; "Right now just because I played all of spring at left guard, I'd say there. I don't really have a problem switching anywhere."
Clifford said it was good for the Spartans to get to a set lineup early on in the process. "I think it's important just because you'll feel more comfortable. It's just like high school when you played with the same guys year after year, you would find a comfort zone. You always know what's going on with the guy next to you."